tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 9, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PST
party is to make constructive criticism and come up with alternative ideas to help the american people. >> does that take shape with the gop over the last few years? >> no. they sit down and say our strategy is going to be that we will obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. we will do everything that we can to make sure that he accomplishes as little as possible and then we'll go to the american people and say see, this guy didn't accomplish anything, vote for us. no, i don't think that's what we do. i think where trump has ideas that make sense, that we can work with him on, i think we should, but i will tell you this. he ran a campaign whose cornerstone was bigotry. it was based on sexism, racism and xenophobia. and on that issue i will not compromise. he ran a campaign which denied the reality of climate change at
a time when virtually all the scientists who have studied this say we face a crisis, that we have to turn from fossil fuel to sustainable energy. >> so we'll deal with the issues and where you see space you are together and where you must be apart. do you accept the intelligence community's assessment of russia's involvement in motivating the hacks during the election, and how do you understand the president-elect's resistance to that analysis? >> yes, i do agree with the intelligence communities. they are unanimous. this is not the first time they've done it, and i suspect they're working on other evffors in other countries around the world. this was a way for them to help elect the candidate of their choice, mr. trump, and i think it was also an effort to try to undermine in a significant way american democracy, so i think
the evidence is very clear that russia did play a very harmful role, unacceptable role, and it's something that we have got to deal with. i think what mr. trump appears to be saying is that no, it's not true. it's not accurate. i don't trust the intelligence communities, and that is an unfortunate position to hold. >> it was explained to me this morning that the media makes the mistake with the president-elect of putting too much weight on what he says and that we miss what is in his heart. [ laughter ] >> i mean, that may be true, but think about that statement for a moment. you're not a heart surgeon. you can't know what's in somebody's heart. you, generally speaking, we accept that when somebody says something they mean it. and we have a right to accept that on face value. and let me say something. it will sound rude, and it will sound partisan. >> is it directed at me? >> no. >> then i'm okay with it.
>> and that is one of the problems that all of us have, including the media, and i am not the only person who says this. there are republicans who say this. we are dealing with a man who in many respects is, how can i phrase this, you know, a pathological liar. and i say that without any, look, i have many conservative friends, and i disagree with them. they're not liars, they have their point of view. but time after time after time, he says stuff, which is blatantly, untrue. >> the man has been elected as the next president of the united states, are you comfortable with that description? >> you asked niamemy me but howe deal with that. we have to figure out a way to deal with that. but that is a very difficult issue to deal with. >> stock market's up, companies are keeping jobs here, people call it the trump effect. >> how people see it or not, all i am saying is what i think is a
fact. and that's not just me saying this. trump began his campaign by saying that he saw muslims in new jersey on a rooftop on television, celebrating the destruction of the twin towers. nobody else in the world happened to see that. he announced just maybe a month ago that millions of people, he would have won the popular vote, which he lost by almost 3 million votes to secretary clinton. he would have won it if millions of people had not voted illegally. nobody believes that, nobody, not republicans, not democrats, nobody. >> i want you to meet jessica carrabian, she was diagnosed two years ago with an incurable breast cancer, jessica, thank you for taking the energy to come here tonight. what's your question? >> thank you for having me. senator sanders, when i was 29 years old, i was diagnosed with
early stage breast cancer, my daughter was just eight months old, and i followed the recommended treatments by my doctors, and i was given a 97% survival rate. and a year later i was diagnosed with met static breast cancer, which is an incurable breast cancer. i quickly became a terminal patient at the age of 30, and i rely greatly on the affordable care act. my fear, i'm terrified that the republicans will repeal the affordable care act, and which would mean that insurance companies will once again be allowed to deny patients with preexisting conditions. and that's me. and that's a life or a death issue for me. i have a daughter and a husband. and my question to you, senator is how will you steer the republican party into keeping the life-saving components of
the, of obamacare? >> jessica, thanks so much for being with us, and i'm sure i speak for everybody wishing you the best of luck in your treatments. we forget that it was only eight years ago, seven years ago, where somebody who had breast cancer, somebody who had other serious illness could go to an insurance company. they would say why would we want to insure you? you're going to cost us a fortune. you're sick. we can't make money out of you. and the american people said that that is insane. what's the function of insurance if you can't get it when you need it? but that's what went on. and, as a result of the affordable care act, we said to the insurance companies, no, you can't discriminate against somebody for a preexisting condition. you're probably running up a pretty steep medical bill, yeah? >> huge. >> and it used to be there were caps on what the insurance companies would pay.
we'll pay you 100,000. we won't pay more. well, how do i pay the next 100,000? tough luck, you're on your own. we changed that as well. so i understand -- to answer your question, jessica, i'm going to do everything i can, and i believe i speak for virtually every member of the democratic caucus, that we're going to do everything that we can to improve the affordable care act. it has problems. but we damn well are not going to see it repealed and have no replacement there at all. and let me just conclude by saying this. and a lot of americans don't do this. we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right. if you were in other major countries, you would not be having to deal with this issue. comprehensive health care, and by the way, because they don't have private insurance companies ripping them off, or they don't have the pharmaceutical industry ripping off the people, because they negotiate prices, the cost per capita in every other
country is significantly lower than it is in the united states. so jessica, i wish you the very best and you hang in there. thank you so much for being here and expressing your concern for your fellow americans. >> thank you. >> quick followup. trump has said that he intends to keep preexisting conditions and some of the other things that are in obamacare. do you believe that? and is that a good starting point for the democrats to work with trump. >> he says that he will. other republicans are not so sure. and the other thing is that we don't talk about a lot is that the repeal of the affordable care act, the complete repeal would not only do away with the protection for preexisting conditions, not only for 20 million people off of medicaid, not only raise prescription drug prices for seniors, not only do away with medicare as we know it and privatize it. and i know paul ryan is going to be on soon. >> thursday. >> you might want to talk to
paul about it, because it's his idea. but it would also give huge tax breaks to the very wealthiest people in this country. they want to repeal that aspect. so there's a limit to what you can do to preserving the quote-unquote good parts if you don't raise the revenue you need. >> meet a life-long democrat who voted for donald trump, what's your question, ed? >> my question tonight, senator sanders is that i'm from a small town in appalachia where we have coal and factories, and today all that is gone. people are looking at, there's not very many good job opportunities out there you know, in these areas, and areas like mine. you know, and you and mr. trump both campaigned on bringing jobs back to rural communities like this. you know, and i like this when both of you, you know, spoke on this and campaigned on that fact
and everything. however, you know, maybe it's time to lay the politics aside, and are you willing to work with mr. trump to see that this happens? a >> absolutely, and there's an area, and you're right, trump and i talked about many of the same issues, and here's what the issue is. the issue is under the last 30 years under democratic and republican administrations we have had trade policies like nafta and cafta and permanent normal trade relations with china, where i written essentially by large mul multi-national corporations, and what they said is why do we want to pay a worker in america $15, $20 an hour when we can shut down here, go to china, mexico and pay people a few buck as hour. that was the goal and they succeeded. we have lost millions of decent paying jobs, and i know kentucky, west virginia, the whole region, but the whole country has been significantly hurt. what do i believe? i believe we need a new trade
policy. i believe we tell corporate america that they got to control their greed. they can't throw american workers out on the street who made them wealthy and then move to mexico and pay people a few bucks an hour. so if mr. trump is prepared to sit down and work on a new trade policy, which is based on fairness, not just on corporate greed, yeah, i will be happy to work with him. >> thank you. >> thanks, ed. >> you have one head that's shaking up and down with a lot of energy. and it comes from tianna. because what you're talking about right now, she hails from detroit, michigan. she's a democrat, she voted for you in the primary, voted for clinton in november. this goes to the core of her question. what do you have? >> my dad worked at american axle for 24 years in skilled trades before he lost his job to nafta and it was sent to mexico. i'm currently an assembly worker in detroit. and i'm worried about my job. bernie, you and donald trump
both agreed to get rid of nafta. as a senator, what steps will you take to work with the trump administration to abolish nafta? >> well, as i just told you, we have lost, tianna, millions, millions, it's not only your dad. we have lost millions of decent-paying jobs. one of the reasons that the middle class in this country is shrinking is there was a time when people can go out, get a job at a factory. if they had a decent union they could earn good wages and good benefits. and as a result of these disastrous trade agreements written by corporate america americans with total contempt were thrown out. so yes,ly work with mr. trump, i will work with anybody who wants to work together to develop a trade policy, which tells corporate america, they have to look beyond their greed. you know, they got to look at the need the of the american people.
i want to see us rebuild our manufacturing sector. the world has changed. automation is also having an impact, but i don't think you can be a great nation if you're not producing a lot of what we consume. we can't get everything from china and mexico. occasionally you have to buy a product made in the united states of america. so i will work very hard, not only with regard to nafta, but with regard to china, to transform our trade policy. >> let's push on this. there is a similarity between trump's message and yours, and there's no question that it hits at the heart of a lot of people's anxieties. but joe biden just said, vice president, he said he likes bernie sanders, he doesn't think 500 billionaires are behind every problem america has, and you mentioned automation, but quickly, when economists talk about this, senator, they talk about it first and they almost stop there, that the reason we've lost manufacturing jobs isn't because of one trade deal, it's because of automation, innovation. >> no. it's a combination. chris, i think most of the
serious students of the issue think it's a combination of factors, but there is no doubt, i think, in any objective economists' mind, we have lost millions and millions of decent-paying jobs as a result of trade agreements. automation is also a serious problem. factories now can produce more with fewer workers. that's true. >> it's not a problem, it's a reality. >> it's a problem for the worker who's been replaced by a machine. but i think we need to change the culture of this country. and we cannot allow corporate america to make every decision just based on their bottom line. even with automation. if automation can replace jobs, do we just throw those workers out on the street? or do we have an obligation to retrain them for other jobs, to provide extended employment and educational opportunities. we cannot allow this culture of
corporate greed, which results in the very, very rich becoming much richer, a middle class shrinking and 43 million people living in poverty. somebody has to stand up to these billionaires and say enough is enough, you cannot have it all. i want a dn economy that works r all of us. people forget, we are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, and our job is to krcreate a government that represent all the people, not just the 1%. >> let's bring in, he's got a question about messaging in the future of our economy. >> so along these lines, i'm a moderate democrat who's discouraged a little bit by how much blame you put towards upper income households and trade agreements for our country's problems, so how can democrats reframe their economic message in order to address the concerns of average americans without
demonizing top earners or moderate, or alienating moderate democrats. >> roey, i don't demonize anybody. what i try to do is state the facts. and the facts are, in my view, that corporate greed is destroying our economy and is doing incalculable harm to the working families of this country, and i think there's somebody that's trying to reform the democratic party, this coming sunday, we're going to have 30 rallies all over this country in opposition to the republican effort to try to end the affordable care act. we try to create grassroots activity within the democratic party. it's not a question of demonizing. it's a question of creating public policies, tax policies. do you think it makes sense, do you think it makes sense that we give very, very large tax breaks
to billionaires? and then cut back on education or health care? does that make sense to you. >> no. >> it doesn't make sense to me. it doesn't make sense to the vast majority of the american people. i'm not demonizing people. what i am saying is that the billionaire class has enormous power. they wrote the trade policies. you've got people sitting at the top of the pharmaceutical industry who last year, the top five drug companies made $50 billion in profits, while the average american cannot afford the medicine he or she needs. am i demonizing? or is that a fact? i think what we need is to bring the american people together and tell those people that we want a government that works for everybody. that's what i'm trying to do. >> this is your opportunity, what have you got, roey? bernie's laid out his case, tell him what you don't like about that. >> technically international trade, i think most studies show that international trade,
free-trade agreements, nafta, especially, has a net benefit on the economy. i mean, there are, we have lost a lot of jobs to nafta, but there are now 7 million jobs that rely on nafta. if you scrap nafta, you essentially take those jobs away. >> it's not a question of scrapping. it's a question of re-writing, creating a new trade policy. look, studies will tell you this and studies will tell you that. i read a lot of these studies. i think the objective evidence is that nafta and pnt even more than nafta, of course you're right, some of these trade policies create jobs. but overall, when you add them up, we have lost millions of jobs, and by the way, it's not just job loss, what else goes on? what goes on is you have many employers who walk into their workers' union hall or just talk to their employees. they say, look, here's your choice. we're going to cut your health care benefits. we're going to cut your wages,
and if you don't like it, guess what we're doing? we're moving to china. that's your choice. and that's another reason why the middle class in this country has been in decline while wages are going down for many workers. so i think you and i have a disagreement about trade policies, but that's what democracy's about. >> this is good. i'm going to take a break right now so you can get up here and finish this conversation. we're going to take a quick break here. we're with senator sanders, how's it going so far, are we happy with the discussion? [ applause ] i think we can do better. we have a big moment coming up, you have the big nominating hearings that are going to go on. will the democrats confirm the choices? what's going to happen when we start getting the big battles tomorrow. we'll discuss what the democrats will do with senator sanders in the town hall, stay with us. [ applause ]
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[cheers and applause] welcome back to the cnn town hall with senator bernie sanders at the george washington university. let's hear from demarr quinn johnson, a student at harvard law school. we've got a big brain coming our way. he voted for clinton in the general and primary. he has a question about tomorrow's confirmation hearing. what do you have, sir? >> senator, i am worried about the direction of the department of justice over the next few years, particularly on voting rights. will you oppose sessions' confirmation? >> i'm going to listen to what he has to say. i've known jeff for many, many years, but i have very strong concerns, and i think the issue you raise about the voting acts right and how the supreme court a few years ago gutted the voting rights act, and that right now state after state, republican states, what they are doing, this is kind of
unbelievable when you think about it, they're working overtime not to expand democracy, not to bring more people into the political process, they're trying to make it harder for people to vote under the guise of voter fraud. thank god in america voter fraud is very, very rare, but they're using that argument to make it harder for poor people, for old people, for people of color to vote. i consider this to be one of the most significant issues facing our country. okay? so i will listen very, very carefully to what senator sessions has to say, but i share your concerns. >> thank you. >> all right, we were talking earlier about how some of the interests in the new economy fold into our understandings about the environment. i want you to meet david bright. he's a farmer, he served as one of the democratic electors fr from maine.
>> we have seen the results of climate change seriously affecting our ability to produce food in this country. for us, there is no room in government for climate change deniers, yet mr. trump has nominated scott pruett to be d head of the environmental protection agency. so my question to you is does the u.s. senate have the hutzpah to actually stand up vigorously and oppose this? what has to happen to stop mr. pruett from not only running but ruining the epa? >> well, it is rather ironic that mr. trump has nominated somebody to head the epa who doesn't much believe in environmental protection. and, as you've indicated, he is, as i understand it, a climate change denier. let me be as clear as i can be. i happen to agree with the overwhelming majority of
scientists who believe that climate change is real, that it is caused by human activity, and today, as you've indicated, not only in our country, but all over the world, people are experiencing drought and floods and extreme weather disturbances and rising sea levels that threaten the well-being of hundreds of millions of people. it is insane for elected officials to say, well, i'm not sure about climate change. i'm not a scientist. that is nonsense. if we don't get our act together, the planet that we're going to leave to our kids and grandchildren will not be a healthy planet, and we have a moral responsibility to do everything that we can. now i'm going to answer the question about mr. pruett the same way i did about mr. sessions. i'm going to listen to what they have to say, but i think it is kind of hard for me to imagine voting for somebody who does not believe that climate change is real and is not prepared to transform our energy system in order to protect the well-being
of our kids and grandchildren. >> i have a question. >> all right, i'll let you ask it. >> sorry to sneak up on you like that. jeff sessions, you say you have real concerns about what he did with respect to the voting rights act. pruett, you say you have real concerns about the fact that in your words he's a climate change denier, but you say you won't commit to voting against them. how do you vote for someone you think is a climate change denier, how do you vote for someone in jeff sessions that may have a problem in voting rights? >> all i'm trying to do here is be polite. >> it's too late to be polite. no teime for that. [ applause ] >> why are you clapping for politeness. >> if i said i'm going to vote against these guys, his next question would be, how can you vote against them when you haven't even had a hearing. ask them a question. so i'm trying to be polite 6789. >> are you going to vote for them or against them.
>> before i voite against them,i want to hear what they say. >> does it matter what they say? >> of course it matters what they are going to say, but i think i know what they're going to say, but you have to give them the courtesy. >> you have to give them the opportunity. >> exactly. >> good to have you as a graduate station, studying here at the george washington university, an independent who voted for clinton. what's your question about the cost of school? >> so the high costs of the courses here are prohibiting me from continuing past the degree that i'm currently going for. i'm stopping in may. i'm not going for a ph.d. past this. as a student and as a former high school teacher where i saw this issue happen a lot, opportunities for lower tuition mean a lot to me. so request ycan you explain how toward policies of free college is a better step than, say,
lowering costs just nationally? >> okay, well, it's not either/or. i think colleges and universities have an obligation to make sure they're running their establishments in a way that is cost-effective, but this is what i believe. everybody here knows that we live in a highly competitive global economy. and that most of the new jobs require a lot of education, technology is transforming our society. 20 years ago, the united states led the world in terms of the percentage of our people who were college graduates. anyone know what percentage we are in today? we're in 11th place. 11th place. i don't know how we have a bright economic future if we don't have the best educated workforce in the world. so what i believe is that when we talk about public education, right now when we talk about public education, i went to public schools in brooklyn, new york that were very good.
when we talk about public education, we say, okay, you're going to have free schooling from kindergarten to high school, great, that was good 20, 30, 40 years ago, but today, given the changing economy, a college degree is the equivalent of what a high school degree was 40 years ago. that means to me is that what we have to do is make a simple statement, and that is that we will make public college and universities tuition free. now how are you going to pay for that? during my campaign for the presidency, i proposed a tax on wall street speculation, which would have more than covered the cost of making public colleges and universities tuition free. the other part of the problem is, is that we have millions of people who have graduated college and graduate school, 30, 50, 100, $200,000, talked to a young woman in iowa, went to dental school, $400,000 in debt. now how do you get your life together when you're paying off
huge debts for decades? so i think, as a nation, we have to make a fundamental decision. do we punish people for the crime of getting a good education? or do we say, you know what? we want everybody in this country to get the best education they can, not only for themselves but for the future of this country. and that's what i believe. and the second part about that is i grew up in a family, didn't have a whole lot of money. we didn't know anybody who went to college. and that's true today for many families. i want every child in this country who's in the fourth grade or the sixth grade, regardless of the income of his or her family to now that if they study hard and they do well in school, you know what? they are going to be able to go to college, and i think that will bring a revolution to education in america. so i think that when we have the top one tenth of 1% in this country owning almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, when we have huge disparities, major
corporations making billions in profits, not paying a nickel in taxes, yeah. i think we can raise the money we need to make public colleges and universities tuition fry. i don't know if you know this guy named andrew cuomo, new york state, funny looking guy. and i was with him a week ago. he hopes to make that state the first state in this country to have public colleges and universities tuition fry. -- free. >> what do you say instead of making my pay for them, get after the colleges and universities. that's kind of the heart of your question. >> universities and colleges have got to do a better job. but this business of making you pay for somebody else. you're doing it today. this is called society. this is called democracy. you are now paying taxes so that some kid can go to a public
school today. all i'm asking you, chris, pay a little bit more in taxes so that somebody can go to college as well. but it's not just you. again, we have major corporation after major corporation not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. you got, as warren buffett reminds us, you've got billionaires who pay an effective tax rate lower than their secretaries. we have the money to make public college the as and universities tuition free. i think it will do an enormous good. >> sometimes it's more about making society better, sometimes it's about doing less. let's bring in jim. >> my question is this, i'm a business owner, and we just keep getting kicked in the teeth by this administration. it's regulation after regulation and tax upon tax. what donald trump does understand is the complexities of business and to reward the
person who takes the risk. so really, you know, my question is, this country was founded on entrepreneurship. why is this administration so against a business owner? please tell me. >> i don't think this administration, the obama administration you're reefing to, is so against the business owners. >> oh. >> when you talk about tax increases. >> really? >> obama, i don't know your income and i'm not concerned about your income. >> it doesn't plattmatter? >> excuse me. he raised taxes on the top 1% or 2%. and i would have done more. 52% of all new income generated today goes to the top. so you and i may have a difference, but i do believe millionaires and multi-millionaires should be paying more in taxes. >> i'm a business owner. i'm not a multi-million air or a billionaire. you haven't lived until you put a payroll on your credit card.
this is the reality of the backbone of this country. >> well, the back bbone of this country, i think we should support entrepreneurialship and small business. but i am not supportive of large multi-national corporations that make billios a year in profit and don't pay a nickel in taxes, nor am i supportive of those corporations who throw american workers out on the street and move to china or mexico. >> what about the small businesses? do you think there's space to work with trump on that? he's talked a lot about getting rid of regulations. >> should a small business or large business be able to pollute the water or air or food? >> i don't pollute air, water or food. however, when these rules and regulations come in to cover all of business, and you're starting, trying to start a business, it's tough enough -- >> i think we should take a look at it, but it's, you know, the devil is in the details. we've got to see what those
regulations are. some of them, by the way. it's very easy to blame barack obama for everything, by the way. some of those regulations may be state, maybe local. i don't know the exact regulations. >> but you say you're open. >> of course, if there's a regulation that doesn't make sense, why do you keep it. but some of them, you're talking about you have some folks out there who really want the freedom to pollute our air or water. they want to get rid of those regulations. i don't agree. don't agree. i think we have to protect the environment. >> all right, let's take a quick break. we have more questions for senator bernie sanders when we come back and the future of the democratic party. great question. thank you very much. [ applause ]
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all on the go. you can even download from your x1 dvr and watch it offline. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. download the xfinity tv app today. [ applause ] we're back with cnn's town hall with senator bernie sanders here at the george washington university. how are you holding up, senator? >> i'm great. >> good, that's what i like to hear. all right, let's have another question here. jenny gut air ed, a high school teacher from maryland who voted
for hillary clinton. what are you learning from your students? >> all kinds of things. senator, thank you so much for taking my question. i'd like to start by saying i really love my students, and it's an honor to be able to teach them. many of them are undocumented or have parents that are undocumented, and right now they're very worried about the political atmosphere. i've talked to them, and i've let them know that they're going to be okay, that they need to focus on their education and not worry about possible deportation. but senator, really, what do you have to say? where can i, aside from encouraging them, where can they find hope? >> well, jenny, first of all, thank you very much for your work as a teacher. you are one of the heroes and heroines in this country, and i think teachers don't get the credit that they deserve. so thank you very much for what you're doing. >> thank you. >> you've touched on a very
emotional issue, and what i hear from you i am hearing from teachers and people in the muslim community, not just the latino community and in other communities all over this country. people are frightened. they are frightened, because during the campaign, trump was saying well, we're going to deport, whatever it may be, it changes every day, but we're going to be picking people up, throwing millions of people outside this country. people who have worked in this country, lived in this country, people who have children in this country, and i can fully understand that your kids are frightened. what all of us have got to remember, and i believe this from the bottom of my heart as somebody whose father came to this country from poland. i'm a first generation american. he came to this country at the age of 17, no money, no education. dropped out of school when he was 16. we are a unique and great country because of our diversity. that is what makes us great. and of all of the things that trump talked about in his campaign, what troubled me the
most is that after all of the generations of great people trying to bring us together, people in the civil rights people, people in the gay rights movement, people in the women's movement, 100 years ago, women didn't have the right to vote. we have made progress in looking at people as martin luther king jr. reminded us. so please tell your students that there are many of us in the congress, not just democrats or progressives, who will do everything we can to protect those beautiful children. >> i will, i will let them know. >> so let's go from somebody teaching kids to someone living that concern himself, osama, a
student here at gw, voted for clinton. even though you're from kansas, as soon as people hear your name, things change. >> thank you for addressing my question. and with myself and many muslims around the country are experiencing silence prejudice, and we're noticing an uptick in hate crimes that occurred after the election. now i would like to know what are you and fellow democrats doing to work with republicans to ensure that muslims in america have fairness and equality? >> we have to make a very fundamental decision, which i had hoped that this country had made. and that is that we understand that there is a common humanity, whether you are muslim or jewish or catholic, whether somebody is
protestant. whether somebody comes from mexico or in my case, my father from poland, or somebody from some ireland or his family from italy? so what, that is america. and we judge people on who they are, not where your grandfather came from or your religion. and that is the principle that we have got to fight for. it's a fundamental, fundamental principle. we judge people on who they are. they're good muslims, bad muslims, good jews, bad jews, good catholics, bad catholics, we judge people on who they are and not their country of origin or religion. that is what the fabric of this country is supposed to be about. there are many of us, i can't tell you all that we are doing, but we will continue that fight. ly i will do everything i can. i will work with trump on any issue that is sensible. but i will not work with trump
when he espouses bigotry and dividing us up. >> so we have a question that goes right to the heart of that tension between when you want to work with him but you don't like what he's doing. the next speaker is matthew kincaid, an economic consultant from virginia, interested in pursuing law school with a question about the supreme court. go ahead. >> it's usually pretty easy for a president to get their supreme court nominee confirmed when their party is in control of the senate, but given what happened with merrick garland, should democrats oppose the nominee like republicans did last year? >> that's a good question. i'm a member of the democratic leadership. we discussed that a little bit today. i won't detell you what people said, but it was an issue of discussion. here's the problem that we have. the supreme court more or less is divided 4/4. the constitution is very clear. there's no doubt about it. the president of the united states, whether it's obama or trump, has the right to nominate
somebody. the senate holds hearings and votes. the republicans refused, they violated, in my view, what the constitution is. now as soon as trump decides on what his nominee will be, they will no doubt come to us and say here's the constitution, we got to vote on this thing, oh, but when you guys were in power you r rejected obama's, you wouldn't give limbhim a hearing. i think the solution would be if mr. trump in fact nominated somebody who was not an extreme right-winger, as i fear he might. might make our lives a little bit easier, but we're going to have to wait to see how that one plays out. >> you know how it's going to play out. he's going to pick somebody and you guys aren't going to like that person, what are you going to do? >> i think we have to let it play out. media always likes to jump two months in advance. let's take it one day at a time.
i do think the republicans treated president obama shamefully and outrageously and then to expect that suddenly year' goi we're going to do the right thing. we'll see. >> we will see. that's a big one. now i've got a big question for you. donald emigrated to the untd from nigeria while he was in middle school. now he's a junior here at this george washington university. he's an independent, voted for clinton, has a very interesting question for you. >> thank you senator sanders for your time. you recently referred to president-elect trump as a pathological liar. in your opinion, in light of the efforts to stair coat cohesiveness in our nation, what do you view as his best attribute. >> hold! i know people want to know the answer to that. we're going to take a quick
[ applause ] welcome back to the george washington university and cnn's town hall with senator bernie sande sanders. we just had a very provocative question asked by one young donald. please repeat your question. >> yes, thank you senator sanders, you recently referred to president-elect trump as a pathological liar, and in an effort to inspire a cohesive front, i'd like to know your opinion on his strongest attribute. >> you think i should say something good about him now. well, let me -- that's not a hard question for me to answer. look, any objective assessment of last year or year and a half, how long it was, we'll tell you that donald trump did something extraordinary, something that nobody but nobody thought that he could do. trump took on the republican establishment.
took on the democratic establishment. took on the media establishment and he ended up winning the election to become president of the united states. that is an an accomplishment. it talks about instincts, about connecting with people. so, you know, i give donald trump his due. i think any fair-minded person has got to. is that good enough? >> yes, sir. thank you. >> sawyer neil, 19 years old, was the youngest bernie sanders delegate last year. >> you've aged rapidly since. >> what's your question? >> so, i became the youngest delegate from pennsylvania. and you inspired people and i'm afraid with trump in the white house, with republicans occupying the majority, all around the country, that this is on the line.
and progressives need somebody to rally behind. liberals need somebody to rally behind if we want to accomplish these policy objectives. my question to you is whether you will take up the mantle of your presidential campaign, our revolution and run for president in 2020? [ applause ] >> chris has heard me respond to that question before. in the sense that it is much too early to be talking about that. what is important for us to be doing today is not worry about who's going to be a candidate for president four years ago, cnn likes that. but what we have to worry about is how we deal with the issues that impact us today, okay? and one of the things that i, reasons that i think we have success in our campaign, we also surprised a lot of people. we talked about issues that people believed in, which the media often does not talk about, and the establishment does not talk about.
you know what? the overwhelming majority of the american people, including many people who voted for mr. trump support the ideas that we're talking about. go to trump supporters, and you ask them whether you think it's right that so few have so much and so many have so little. ask them if they think that we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage, okay? ask them if we should rebuild our infrastructure and create millions of jobs, rebuilding our roads and bridges and water systems, and you'd be surprised at the kind of response, what i say all over the place is that yes, of course there are differences in this country on issues like choice and gay rights. and i support a woman's right to choose and i support gay rights. but on many economic issues, you would be surprised at how many americans hold the same views. very few people believe what the republican leadership believes now. tax breaks for billionaires and cutting medicare, social security and medicaid. if 10% of the american people, i've been asked a question, fair
question, right now in this audience. how many people believe that we should give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 1% and then cut social security and medicare, please raise your hand. chris, what's the answer. see any hands go up? >> none. >> that is exactly what the republican leadership, i'm not exaggerating. that is what they believe, but they debtget away with that, bee they have incredible campaign contributions capabilities. they have all kinds of lobbyists all over the place. so keep the faith. we did very well in california yesterday. we won all kinds of seats in the democratic party in california, a lot of people came out. we were making progress. but the main goal is not to worry about who's going to run for president. worry about all of you getting involved in the political process, honor those people who fought and died for democracy, respect people who disagree with you. but this is your country and not just a handful of billionaires'.
>> so you are taking off around the country. you're going to be bringing the message of your party to people, especially places where it did not go as well for you as you thought. what are you going to tell people around this country who feel that your party, the democratic party does not pay attention to them anymore, that you are more concerned with what bathroom people go into, to how they earn a living, what is the message -- >> very fair. you know, very fair question. i think -- >> one, one, you give me credit for. >> not often. hey, it's been an hour and ten minutes. >> decent question. [ laughter ] >> look. if we were going back history to the '30s and the '40s and you asked the average working person, which party is the party of the working class of america. overwhelmingly people would say it was the democratic party. they do not say that now, and
for good reason. when we talk about the greed of wall street and the deregulation of wall street, it wasn't the republicans alone. they did it with democrats. we talk about trade policy. it was a republican administrati -- democratic administration. i think democrats have to make a very fundamental choice, which side are they on? you cannot be on the side of wall street, you can't be on the side of the drug companies and insurance companies and the big money interests and go to working people and say haey, i' on your side, because they're smarter than that. we have to come up with an agenda that speaks to the needs of working people, and that is creating millions of decent-paying jobs, making colleges tuition free, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, creating jobs by addressing climate change, dealing with a broken criminal justice system. dealing with immigration reform,
et cetera, et cetera. i think the american people understand that there's something profoundly wrong in this country when you have a small number of billionaires who have all the power in this country. and that's what the democratic party has got to stand for. >> we get to the issues, was it a serious discussion about serious things? good, give yourselves a round of applause. happy new year to you. and to everyone who made this town hall possible and it's more than you may just be thinking about what you see up hiere on the stage, this is just the beginning of a very special week here at cnn. tomorrow you have president obama's farewell address. wednesday you have president-elect donald trump holding his first full-scale news conference in months. and later on, wednesday night, van jones is going to host another edition of his town hall series the messy truth. and then jake tapper here at the george washington university wi